Review: Advantage Erin by Kris Kreisman
ebook, 140 pages.
Publication Date: August 22, 2012.
Source: Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Erin's mom is driving her crazy. Especially about tennis. Erin is good and enjoys the game. But it's not her fault she's not the megastar her mom claims to have been when she was Erin's age. If only there was some way to get Mom to understand...
Spring break arrives, which means a visit to Grandma and Mom's old hometown. Grandma is eccentric, but she's also cool and understands Erin's frustrations. And she can help. By taking Erin on a visit to Mom's old high school. Not Mom's school today. But Mom's school as it was in 1970.
Erin experiences the trip of her lifetime. Back in time, where she struggles to fit in with a bunch of kids who never heard of the Internet or laptops or cell phones. Where she meets some very cool kids. And one not so cool kid named Catherine. Now known as Mom.
Talk turns to tennis, and inevitably the challenge is made and accepted. And they play the tennis match of the century. Erin had repeatedly heard how Mom was undefeated. Now was her time to do something about it. They battle hard until, in unexpected fashion, it's over. But when she returns to the present Erin learns the truth about her Mom. And Mom learns some lessons as well.
Enjoy Erin's thrill ride, her fun, her excitement, her anxiety. And discover how her trip to the past changed her present.
This book definitely has an interesting premise: a teen girl who just can't get along with her mom is sent back in time to battle her mom's high school self the only way she knows how - tennis.
I thought the dynamic between Erin and her mother was very well written. Erin provided a great narrative voice; completely believable as a high school student. She's a little whiny, which can get frustrating, but to be fair, she wants what a teen girl wants: a social life. And she feels her mom is keeping that from her with her endless talk of responsibilities and tennis. It is very clear where Erin gets these traits though, because her mom is stubborn and definitely has some attitude (almost too much, at times) as well. I could see the link between them very clearly, despite Erin's constant denial of it.
The side characters played a great role in the story as well. Sonny, a social outcast at school simply because he was 'stuck in the past' in a way, was a very likeable guy who seemed to really like Erin, possibly because she was the only one who was nice to him. He brought a smile to my face and I definitely felt for him. For the most part he seemed to embrace who he was, which I really liked. I have to say that I was very disappointed with the way his storyline eventually plays out. I really wish it had gone a different way.
The only characters I wasn't a fan of were Erin's best friend, Caitlyn, who was very selfish (which worked for their friendship but not for me), and Aaron, who brings a surprise near the end of the story that I was really disappointed by.
Erin's grandma, on the other hand, was a very fun character who brought some relief to some of the tension between Erin and her mom. She brings wisdom and some mystery to Erin's experiences. She's also the one who sends Erin on the time-travelling trip that changes her entire perspective. It was fairly realistic and quite enjoyable to read, although I do think the other characters really cut Erin a little slack in her complete confusion at the time period she finds herself in.
While there were some disappointments for me, overall this was a nice, well told story about giving people a chance, which was reflected both through the relationship between Erin and her mom and through the character of Sonny; something I really enjoyed. It helped to show that there is more to someone than what you see at first, or even what you see for years; you just have to find it.